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Nearly 200 A-I pilots sign undertaking
May 03, 2003 20:09 IST
Nearly 200 pilots on Saturday signed an undertaking set by Air-India and agreed to resume flight duties.
"We [pilots] arrived at a consensus decision at a meeting to sign the undertaking under protest," an Indian Pilots' Guild spokesman said in Mumbai, adding some key office-bearers and pilots, who are out of station, are yet to comply with the directions of the management.
A-I's public relations director, Jitender Bhargava, said: "We have now undertakings from more than 185 pilots, including 35, who have signed earlier, enabling us to revise our flight schedule and operate additional services to the Gulf and restore the Chennai-Singapore flights from tomorrow."
He said two sets of undertaking, one for suspended pilots and the other for striking pilots, were given. They have since signed it, agreeing to 'maintain proper discipline and carry out assignments and duties entrusted from time to time'.
The pilots will now have to adhere to increased flying [10 hours as against nine] and duty time [14 hours as against 12] limitations, Bhargava said.
For the suspended pilots, an additional clause has been added in the undertaking, which states: "I admit that I refused to undertake the flight when rostered by the company because of the directives issued by the union.
"We have unconditionally withdrawn the agitation and I understand the agitation has caused a lot of inconvenience and financial loss to the airline."
The management had on Friday night couriered individual letters to unionised pilots informing them that they have to sign an undertaking to resume flying following the withdrawal of the strike.
An officer has also been appointed by the management to initiate inquiries against the first set of pilots who have been issued charge sheets for refusing to fly.
A total of 46 pilots, including the president and general secretary, Captain Kenneth Khan and Captain Vikrant Sansare respectively, and two other managing committee members have been suspended and issued charge sheets so far.
The airline has a strength of 360 pilots -- 160 belong to the executive cadre, and the rest owe allegiance to the IPG.
The Bombay high court had on Friday allowed 24 suspended pilots to resume duty, depending on the exigencies of work and had asked them to individually explain reasons for not operating flights.
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